Counterfeit McDonald’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ unveils logo after stores close in Russia

A budding burger chain in Russia called ‘Uncle Vanya’ is looking to grab business left on the table by McDonald’s – revealing a logo that looks surprisingly similar to ‘Golden Arches’.

A March 12 trademark filing with the Russian government showed an image that closely resembles the McDonald’s logo turned sideways. The summary file shows a Cyrillic letter “B”, which refers to the “V” in “Uncle Vanya”, cast in yellow on a red background.

“Trademark squatting started in Russia” tweeted Josh Gerbena prominent intellectual property lawyer who was among those who reported the filing.

The app emerged online after Russian authorities said they were removing patent protections for companies linked to countries deemed hostile to Russia – a response to crippling international sanctions and a mass exodus of Western companies in response to the Ukrainian invasion.

McDonald’s representatives did not immediately return a request for comment.

McDonald’s closed all of its 850 stores in Russia during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Getty Images

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that the Kremlin is set to seize the assets of companies leaving the country in “[introducing] external management” and “[transferring] these companies to those who want to work,” according to Russian state media.

McDonald’s has been named as a likely target. Vyacheslav Volodin, a senior Russian State Duma official, said last week that Russian restaurants should take control of McDonald’s locations – with specific reference to Uncle Vanya.

“They announced they were closing. Well, okay, close. But tomorrow, in these places, we shouldn’t have McDonald’s, but Uncle Vanya’s,” Volodin said, according to The Washington Post. be preserved and prices reduced.”

As The Post reported, a relaxation of brand protections could pave the way for local operators to reopen McDonald’s stores without permission or legal repercussions in the country.

Some McDonald’s locations in Russia have remained open despite the company’s directive. GiD LLC, franchisee of 25 restaurants, told state media that locations in Siberia were still functioning normally. Locations in other cities, including Moscow, also remained active, the Daily Mail reported.

McDonald's in Russia
McDonald’s has developed a large business in Russia over the past decades.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

McDonald’s was one of the companies to leave Russia, closing all of its roughly 850 stores in the country in a move the company says will cost $50 million a month. The fast-food giant plans to continue paying its 62,000 Russian workers throughout the shutdown.

“As we move forward, McDonald’s will continue to assess the situation and determine if further action is necessary,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement on the decision. “At this stage, it is impossible to predict when we will be able to reopen our restaurants in Russia.”

Long queues have formed in stores and at drive-throughs in Russia after McDonald’s announced store closures. Many Russians have started hoarding and selling McDonald’s products at exorbitant prices through online platforms.

A viral Reddit thread has revealed that a Russian citizen stocked his fridge with McDonald’s burgers before the shutdowns.

New York Post

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